80 years young


John Pepper, founder of Carlton Forest Group, is celebrating his 80th birthday this weekend.

John Pepper was born in 1940, in Worksop, the son of a local joiner and builder. The Pepper family are a well-respected local family and are proud of their ancestry – indeed, the family was commended for their contribution in the restoration of the historic Lady Chapel in Worksop Priory.

John began his career in farming. In the 1970’s he owned and decided to put his orange Bedford van (that had been used for delivering pigs to market) to good use. Coupled with the storage he had on site, he began delivering and storing product for Smiths Flour Mill in Worksop (which is now Whitworth Brothers). This was today’s 3PL in its infancy!

From flour John moved to storing and distributing agricultural fertiliser, a time when fertiliser still had to be stored in depots and taken to the farms when required. By mid-1970 he had established the largest inland storage depot for fertiliser servicing the farming industry, and Mark his son and current CEO, remembers “up to twenty flat bed wagons lining up along Blyth Road to make their deliveries to site each day.”

Fertiliser remained part of the business portfolio for over a decade and was joined by furnace bricks and reclaimed steel from the region’s steelworks. By the early 90’s it was apparent that there was a real demand for storing and distributing all types of products and, with his son Mark on board, the company began to focus on more diverse products and establish itself as well respected storage and distribution centre.

And, that is where we pretty much find the business today, with the addition of technological advancements, a warehouse facility or two and a few more pounds in additional turnover!

John still has an extremely keen interest in all aspects of the business and pops in for a coffee most days. He has been very proud to see the business develop internationally in recent years and the installation of the company’s pyrolysis plant just over a year ago saw John on site, watching the installation process with great interest. That part of the site had come a long way from the pigsties of the 70’s!

In his spare time John enjoys joinery and gardening. He has a partner, Anita, and two adult children, Mark and Maryann.

We wish John a very Happy 80th Birthday!